MLB honors Mariano Rivera with cool tribute video

Perhaps you’ve heard that Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in the history of baseball, will be retiring after the 2013 season. As the Yankees have all but been eliminated from postseason contention (the team’s elimination number stands at one heading into Wednesday’s game versus the Rays), the stage is set for Rivera’s final home game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday evening. In honor of this occasion and in recognition of the iconic reliever’s incredible achievements, Major League Baseball has commissioned a tribute video released earlier today. I have to say the video is pretty damn cool.

Created by barrettSF, the video (which is also available in Spanish), uses footage from Rivera’s major league debut and cuts to key milestones in his Hall of Fame career. It’s of note that Rivera’s major league debut did not necessarily portend greatness — in his first appearance on May 23, 1995 as a starter at the California Angels, the 25-year old went 3.1 innings, gave up five earned runs, walked three, struck out five and surrendered a home run to Jim Edmonds in a 10-0 Angels whitewashing.

While the video flashes forward to great moments in Rivera’s career — from key strikeouts with the cutter to footage from his 200th and 300th career saves to his record-setting 602nd career save, MVP of the 1999 World Series (1999) and his emotional All-Star Game tribute at Citi Field this year, the voiceover asks, “How could he possibly know he’ll be the greatest closer the game has ever seen?”

In addition to the tribute video, MLB has commissioned a print ad that will run in Thursday’s USA Today, New York Daily News, New York Post and Metro NY. Check it out below.